The following sentence is from an essay by Thomas Reid:

Suppose a brave officer to have been flogged when a boy at school for robbing an orchard, to have taken a standard from the enemy in his first campaign, and to have been made a general in advanced life.

What does he mean by "taking a standard"?

  • It would be helpful if you could show us what research you have done before asking this question. It is a good question, but you are expected to say what work you have done.
    – JeremyC
    Mar 28 '18 at 8:34

This is the noun "standard" in sense 4 of the Oxford English: "A military or ceremonial flag carried on a pole or hoisted on a rope."

To take the standard of the enemy after a battle indicates your total victory. In ancient Rome, for example, to have your legion's own standard captured was one of the greatest shames that could come upon your legion.

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